WWF-Pacific poised to support 'Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity'

Posted on 03 December 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (3 December 2023) – As the Pacific region confronts unprecedented challenges from climate change and biodiversity loss, the World-Wide Fund for Nature in the Pacific (WWF-Pacific) welcomes the announcement by Pacific leaders on their renewed bold vision to protect, restore and rejuvenate the region’s extra-ordinary ecosystem.
 
The ‘Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity’ (UBPP) signifies a purposeful collaboration to create a paradigm shift, enabling swift mobilization of impactful investments and initiatives across the continent for the benefit of all Pacific people.
 
Announced at the 28th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UBPP represents a tremendous opportunity that builds on a history of Pacific Island leaders’ ambition for a healthy, equitable and sustainable Blue Pacific Continent.
 
The CEO and President of Bezos Earth Fund, Andrew Steer, affirmed at the ‘Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity, Pacific Leaders Commitment to a Sustainable and Prosperous Blue Pacific: For Our Pacific and for the World’ side event an injection of USD100 million to support Pacific governments in their climate action and conservation efforts contingent upon the design and implementation plans of these initiatives.
 
“It is absolutely morally and economically sensible to be partners with you, and that's what we want to commit to you. The Bezos Earth Fund is already working in the region. We would be willing to go much further and subject to the design that will happen over the coming months, we would be willing to put up to $100 million on the table to support what you are doing,” said Steer.
 
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO, Carlos Manual Rodriquez also announced the allocation of USD125 million for Pacific islands through Star GEF 8.
 
“I hope that these resources can be leveraged by more resources from many different sources so we can complement what every single country is providing to the public expenditures in their effort to become more resilience to a changing environment,” said Rodriguez.
 
The side event was attended by the President of Palau, H.E., Surangel Whipps Jr., the Prime Minister of Tonga, Honourable Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni, the Fiji Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Lesikimacuata Korovavala, The Premier of Niue, Hon. Dalton Tagelagi, the Vanuatu Minister for Climate Change Adaptation, Energy, Environment, Meteorology, Geohazards and Disaster Management, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, the U.S Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, the  CEO and Chairman of Global Environment Facility (GEF), Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, the CEO and President of Bezos Earth Fund, Andrew Steer, The Ambassador Dr. Tapugao Falefou, the Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Dr. Tapugao Falefou and the Minister of State for International Development and Africa, United Kingdom, Rt Hon. Andrew Mitchell.
 
In his address, P.S Korovavala stressed the need for COP28 to deliver concrete action in the form of adequate, predictable and sustainable finance that is fit for purpose.
 
“Failure is not an option for our citizens, for our communities and our countries that are threatened and ravaged by hurricanes, cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves, sea level rise, biodiversity loss, food and water security challenges. The Pacific has endured five Category 5 tropical cyclones in the last seven years, causing the loss of human lives and damages of up to 64 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said PS Korovavala.
 
He added, “The Pacific SIDS are extremely vulnerable to climate induced disasters that could wipe out decades of development gain in a few hours. As such the blue Pacific’s climate finance needs for adaptation alone are substantial, it is estimated that 6.5 percent of GDP or almost USD1.4 billion dollars annually.”
 
What distinguishes the UBPP is its leadership by Pacific nations, tailored to the context and needs of the region, while carrying significant global implications. It brings together critical links in the conservation-development supply chain, bridging political leadership, philanthropic partners, Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and local communities to collectively drive lasting change.
 
"Acknowledging the urgency, WWF-Pacific stands poised to contribute to this coalition, leveraging its expertise and partnerships to drive impactful change. The initiative's aim to bridge funding gaps aligns with WWF-Pacific's commitment to supporting science-based interventions and traditional knowledge-based approaches across the Pacific region,” said Director, WWF-Pacific, Mark Drew.
 
The "Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity plays a pivotal role in global environmental commitments, including the urgent need to achieve the 30 by 30 target. This coalition presents a unique opportunity to address critical funding shortfalls and scale impactful initiatives for sustainable environmental management.”
 
The initiative's multi-goal approach, emphasizing oceans management, healthy resilient food systems, and fit-for-purpose financial modalities, resonates with WWF-Pacific's principles of engaging diverse stakeholders and fostering inclusive partnerships for sustained progress.
 
"We believe this initiative is crucial in delivering meaningful and targeted impacts, not just for the Pacific but for the planet. WWF-Pacific is committed to contributing to this decade-long transformational partnership, nurturing the Pacific's environmental goals and securing a sustainable future for the region," said Drew.
 
He adds, "We are thrilled to position WWF-Pacific as a catalyst for change in the Pacific, working collaboratively with communities, CSOs, and CROP agencies to address pressing challenges. Together, we journey towards a People and Nature Positive Pacific.”
 
Looking ahead to 2030, WWF-Pacific remains steadfast in its dedication to nurturing a Pacific where communities are empowered, climate-resilient, and prosperous, while nature thrives and visibly recovers.
 
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For more information:
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Manager, WWF-Pacific.
E: jraqauqau@wwfpacific.org, WhatsApp: +679 9936744
 

Pacific leaders at partners at the launch of the Unlocking Blue Pacific Prosperity Initiative at COP28 in Dubai
© WWF
Andrew Steele, Bezos Earth Fund
© WWF
John Kerry, United States Special Envoy for Climate
© WWF
Ralph Regenvanu, Minister of Climate Change, Adaptation, Meteorology and Geo-Hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Vanuatu
© WWF
Dr Lesikimacuatu Korovavala, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fiji
© WWF
H.E. Surangel Whipps Jr., the President of Palau
© WWF
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, the Prime Minister of Tonga
© WWF